Monday, February 1, 2010

Manischewitz 18 bean soup

Frankly, consuming beans, to me, seems as exciting as eating grass and dirt. Doesn't get me very excited. However, I had come across Manischewitz's Homestyle 18 Bean Soup Mix (disclaimer: I am not being paid or given anything to advertise for Manischewitz) previously and rather enjoyed making and eating the tasty soup. I have been surveying my cupboard and decided to utilize whatever has been left alone too long. On top of that, I've been growing weary of our regulars, I'm wanting to vary what we eat, and slowly, my itches as a cook/chef-want-to-be need to be scratched.

The ingredients in this prepackaged soup mix include:
  • barley
  • green split peas
  • yellow split peas
  • lentils
  • white beans
  • red kidney beans
  • black eyed peas
  • navy beans
  • small white beans
  • pink beans
  • small red beans
  • pinto beans
  • baby lima beans
  • black turtle beans
  • dark red kidney beans
  • cranberry beans
  • native american beans
  • yellow eye beans
  • red lentils
  • salt sugar
  • carrots
  • green and red bell peppers
  • garlic
  • onion
  • paprika
  • tomato
  • celery
  • chili powder
  • parsley
  • cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
  • celery seed
The directions read:

You Will Need:
1 box Manischewitz Homestyle 18 Bean Soup
7 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, add water, bean package, onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 3/4 hours or until beans are tender. Stir occasionally. Add seasoning and barley packet and continue simmering for 1/2 hour. Makes six 1 cup servings.

Here's what I changed or did differently:
  • To the ingredients, I added diced tomatoes, additional garlic, and chicken broth.
  • Suggestion #1: If presentation matters to you, as it does me, cook the beans separately. The darker beans ended up making the water a dark brownish gray, thus making the soup dark if you lump everything together from the start. I cooked the beans for about an hour an a half or so.
  • Suggestion #2: I cooked the onion separately, in a frying pan, with olive oil. I have a bit of a temperamental stomach, and stir-frying the onion before dumping it into any soup always helps me.
  • Cooked everything else (carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, water, chicken broth) in a big pot for about 1/2 hr, before dumping the beans (and dumping the water in which it was cooked) and onion in (after they were cooked separately) as well as the spice pack. I simmered the soup for quite awhile, allowing the vegetables to soak in the spices.

At some point, this is one of those soups I'd like to master, from scratch. It's that tasty. Plus the soup is healthy.

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